One in three Alzheimer’s cases preventable

According to new research from the University of Cambridge, one in three cases of Alzheimer’s disease worldwide is preventable. Previous research from 2011 estimated that one in two cases couldL2 Dementia be preventable, however this new study takes into consideration overlapping risk factors. The team from Cambridge analysed population-based data to work out the seven main risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease which included:
  • Diabetes
  • Mid-life Hypertension
  • Mid-life Obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Depression
  • Smoking
  • Low education attainment
The study worked out that a third of Alzheimer’s cases could be linked to a lifestyle factor that can be altered and how reducing these risk factors affects the number of future Alzheimer’s cases. They found out that reducing each risk by 10%, nearly nine million cases of the disease could be prevented by 2050, this would mean for the UK a reduction of 200,000 cases (8.8%). Current estimates suggest that more than 106 million people worldwide will have Alzheimer’s by 2050, this number is more than three times the number affected in 2010. Professor Carol Brayne, from the institute of Public Health at the University of Cambridge has stated that although there is no single way of treating dementia, we may be able to reduce the risk of developing dementia when older. “Simply tackling physical inactivity, for example, will reduce levels of obesity, hypertension and diabetes, and prevent some people from developing dementia. As well as being healthier old age in general, it’s a win-win situation”. Doctor Simon Ridley, head of research at charity Alzheimer’s Research UK, stated that there’s still so much to learn and discover about the disease and how we do not fully understand the mechanisms behind how factors are related to the onset of Alzheimer’s. “While age is the biggest risk factor for most cases of Alzheimer’s, there are a number of lifestyle and general health factors that could increase or decrease a person’s chances of developing the disease”. With an ageing population, the amount of people being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is set to spiral. Doctor Ridley states that the focus on research on preventing Alzheimer’s needs to continue as there is no certain preventative measures and that most cases of Alzheimer’s are due to non-modifiable risk factors, but mainly old age. To read further, click here.